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Changes and Challenges of Cross-border Mobility within the European Union

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Edited By Trine Lund Thomsen

This book presents the results of the MIDA-project – the impact of labour migra-tion from the Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries to the Danish labour market. In addition, it includes chapters that focus on labour mobility in other EU countries. The project stems from collaboration between researchers from the former CoMID (the Research Center for the Study of Migration and Diversity) at Aalborg University and the Department of Occupational Medicine at the Regional Hospital West Jutland.
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Chapter 9 Precarious Working Lives – Migrant Workers’ Experience of Working Conditions in the Danish Labour Market (Anna Helene Meldgaard Pedersen and Trine Lund Thomsen)

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Anna Helene Meldgaard Pedersen and Trine Lund Thomsen

Chapter 9 Precarious Working Lives – Migrant Workers’ Experience of Working Conditions in the Danish Labour Market

Introduction

The occurrence of fatal accidents among migrant workers in Denmark has been reported as higher than among the Danish workers (Andersen 2010; Andersen and Hansen 2008). Furthermore, trade unions inform from frequent visits at workplaces with migrant workers that the safety and work environment at these workplaces often do not meet the regulations. This type of environment is more than likely to increase uncertainty, and a major implication of uncertainty in construction is health and safety risk (Meardi et al. 2012). There are several reasons why migrant workers may be subjected to higher risk than national workers. This may be due to segregation into the most dangerous jobs, sub-sectors and companies; worse or different health and safety training; different attitudes to risk and willingness to monetarise it; poor awareness of informal local practices; higher turnover and therefore, on average, shorter presence on sites and less familiarity with local conditions (McKay et al. 2006). Woolfson (2013) has raised the hypothesis of a link between migration and worsening occupational safety and that accidents are being ‘exported’ together with workers. Research, including interviews with employers, employees and trade unionists, overwhelmingly confirms this claim. Health and safety risks are a major concern in relation to labour migration in general and currently specifically from the CEE countries, but there are also social factors connected...

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